Things Divorce Teaches You about Marriage


Things Divorce Teaches You about Marriage

A divorce can be devastating. It’s one of those pains that you don’t really understand unless you’ve been through it. Not only does it cause tremendous upheaval in your life, it alters how you view yourself and romantic relationships. Some people swear off marriage wholeheartedly, while others jump into the next one as if their last had nothing to teach them. But most of us reflect on the state of marriage and relationships at this time. If a split is anything it’s a great teacher. Here are some things divorce teaches you about marriage. First, marriages are always different for those living them than how they are viewed from the outside. Sometimes when someone gets divorced, others are shocked, thinking they had the perfect marriage. Issues that seem reconcilable to some are end games to others. But some people somehow find a way to make it work. Everyone’s marriage is a bit messy, much like human life, though they may seem picture perfect from where you stand. If we could just break down the walls and talk about what marriage is really like, instead of putting on airs, perhaps we could make everyone’s better.

Another problem leading to divorce is a sexless marriage. Make time to be physical together. Statistics show that 20% of marriages today are sexless. But becoming physically intimate is a way for both people to bond. Being in a sexless marriage itself may be a big warning sign that things aren’t going well for one or both parties. Of course men tend to compartmentalize. With women, if things aren’t going well in the relationship, goings-on in the bedroom suffer. That’s because to a woman the emotional intimacy in the relationship is what’s most important. Though this may be important for a man, most men are more driven by libido. A failed marriage makes us look at other marriages in a new way. What are others really struggling with and how do they make it work? Communication is always crucial. But so is negotiation, not holding grudges, clearing the air and coming to a deep understanding of one another. We also need to accept the flaws in ourselves and our spouse for what they are. Recognition is one thing, acceptance another. One of the common causes of divorce is infidelity. Some people are shocked when they find that their husband or wife was cheating. A person may be an incredible breadwinner, an expert parent, a phenomenal homemaker and still have a spouse who cheats. The reason people go astray is they are trying to heal something wrong inside the relationship through outside means.

One of the problems with modern marriage that experts often point out is that we expect our spouse to take up all of the roles that traditionally an entire village provided. We want them to be our mentor, coach, partner, lover, confidante, best friend, co-parent and more. Find some of these needs outside your relationship if you can, and take some pressure off of your spouse. Spending some time with friends or close family members and becoming more well-rounded people by spending time at one’s favorite pursuits can help replenish each person and the marriage as well. But tenaciously clinging to one’s partner can bring the whole thing down. It’s best when both people are totally fulfilled, realized people who choose to go through life together. Marriage isn’t easy. But for most Americans, they see little alternative. We’ve been called serial monogamists and perhaps it still fits, at least if you are of a certain generation. Statistically, second marriages are less likely to last. Some say the third one is a charm. Be that as it may, don’t wallow in a failed marriage, learn from it and make your next relationship the romance of a lifetime. For more pick up a copy of, Learning From Divorce: How to Take Responsibility, Stop the Blame, and Move On by Robert LaCrosse and Christine A. Coates.

How You Subconsciously Maneuver into Controlling Relationships

Upset Woman

How You Subconsciously Maneuver into Controlling Relationships

If you feel like you have no control in your life but are always being controlled, feel overwhelmed by pressures, or that you are helpless because your power has been taken away, you could be creating a situation where you always export your sense of power and control to others. This generally isn’t a conscious move. If you feel a lack of power or control in your life, feel helpless but don’t know what to do, then this is probably you. The first issue is becoming aware of it. Once you have done that you can take steps to turn things around and take control of your life again.


First, you stop taking care of yourself in the right way. Whether you are smoking, shirking off exercise, over-eating or eating the wrong things, whatever the situation when you don’t take care of yourself you are sending an unconscious message for others to take care of you. The next sign is that you rail against the expectations or authority of others. Those with rebellious attitudes often are screaming at authorities to control them. They hate authority and at the same time they wish deep inside to be controlled by it. Those who wish to be controlled often don’t make the best choices in life. They fall apart at the last minute. They lack follow through. They flake out. They fail to complete the assignment and they telegraph their inability to handle things in the process.

Those who subconsciously want to be controlled may ask those in positions of authority question after question about a task or assignment. They may not even need help but feel inadequate, they are seeking attention and even friendship, or they want someone else to take over. Are you willing to take risks? Do you fear or loathe making mistakes? If you do, then you may be screaming for someone else to come in and take over. Are you a person who just can’t say no? If you constantly overextend yourself and can’t follow through, then this may be you. Do you feel as though you have no say in what’s happening around you? Do you feel as though your opinion doesn’t amount to much, if anything at all? The fact that you feel this way means you are ripe to be controlled because you yourself don’t value your own opinion.

Are you attracted to the controlling type? If your partners always seem to be persuasive, charismatic, strong, independent minded and even controlling and manipulative people, you have to consider that subconsciously you want to be controlled. Do you know your own feelings on what is going on in your life? If you can’t tell how you feel about things, or do things even though they make you feel uncomfortable, you may be practicing a type of self-sabotage that leaves you subconsciously exporting your power while consciously despising what is happening to you. For more on breaking free of negative patterns read, Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior by Mark Goulston and Philip Goldberg.

Reasons Men Label Women Psycho


Reasons Men Label Women Psycho

Have you ever seen that woman who gets out of control or throws tantrums as a way to have the upper hand in her relationship? The truth is this happens to lots of level headed, upright, balanced women from time to time. It’s especially frustrating if a woman has tried so hard to make a relationship work only to find that her partner loses interest and moves on. Instead, why not take a good look and see what behaviors may be driving men away, and making you unhappy with yourself, both at the same time. Here are some reasons men label women psycho, though these are at times normal female behaviors. Getting them under control and projecting a more cool, confident self-assured version of you may be the ticket to better relationships and personal well-being. First, don’t act needy. Women who have low self-esteem act this way. Confidence is sexy. But being clingy all the time, not so much. If you think you’re a bit needy, why not invest a little more time and energy in your own life? What are your hopes, goals and dreams? Why not work to make them a reality? Find ways to boost your own self-esteem and you’ll boost the relationship in tandem.

Are you the manipulative type? If you whine to get your way, men will lose respect. You’ll become annoying and lose your power. If you play head games, it means that you don’t feel safe in being direct about what you want. The relationship will never move forward since it isn’t based on open and honest communication. What’s more, this manipulation will sooner or later be found out. It either opens the door for him to use it on you, or he will resent its use, think you don’t respect him enough to talk to him directly and he’ll pull away. Learn how to be honest, open and direct with your communication and expectations. Discuss things in a mutually respectful, positive manner. Be open to his input. Allow room for compromise and negotiation on all things except the ones that are most dear to you. An issue on the other side of the spectrum is if you are too nice. Nice is great. But not if you are a doormat. If you let men walk all over you they won’t respect you. Every relationship must sit on a bedrock of respect or else get washed away in the blasts of love’s many storms. Stick up for yourself, set boundaries and don’t let him cross them, and put him in his place when he crosses the line. Don’t obsess over your relationship. Lots of women jettison their own interests and focus all their time on their relationship, but they smother it and end up alone. Learn to invest time in your friends, family and other concerns. Don’t obsess over little things. Talk about what bothers you with others and gain some perspective. And learn to let the little things go. For more relationship advice read, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

Getting your Spouse to Pay More Attention to you


Sometimes in a relationship we ask ourselves why we can’t get things right or why we are miserable. In fact, we are wondering why our partner is ignoring us. It’s important to examine your past first. What were your parents like? Were they neglectful and distant? Have you become attached or married to someone who is the exact same way? The problem may not be with you but in who you selected as your mate. Some people select situations in love that reflect the same they had growing up in order to heal their psychological wounds. But often they end up making the same mistakes. The problem could also be your lover or spouse. Perhaps they think that giving too much attention or praise isn’t good, that they are showing weakness by doing so or that they degrade their own worth when they praise yours. The question we generally ask in this situation is how to get your spouse to pay more attention to you. This puts all the focus on the other person and takes yourself out of the equation. You can only take responsibility for your own behavior, never that of another person. If you can’t fix your own behavior than you certainly can’t take on the behavior of other people. We do have to ask the wrong questions to get to the right ones. So what are the right questions to ask?

First, take a look and see if you are recreating the pattern of an unhappy childhood or a previous relationship. If so, you need to break that pattern. The person you have chosen will never fulfill your needs. In fact, you will be forced to relive the same neglect over and over again. You make yourself reliant on the spouse or lover for your own happiness. This is a terrible mistake. No one can make you happy but yourself. Happiness is internal, not external. Instead of asking what would make your significant other give you attention, you should ask what would make you yourself happy. This is empowering. Now here is something you can very well do something about. When putting the sole focus on the partner, then you are powerless. But by putting the focus on yourself, you are powerful. Now it’s time to see what your partner’s issues are. Perhaps they were just as neglected by their parents. It could be that they need attention and affection even more than you do to heal their psychological wounds. Instead, why not treat them with kindness? Give them a well-deserved compliment. Give them the attention that you seek. Who knows, maybe you’ll be getting it right back, and more. Try to be active and use your power to make the greatest impact in your spouse or partner’s life. If it doesn’t take, then at least you know that now may be the time to move on. For more advice, read Getting the Love You Want Workbook by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D.

What Marriage Counselors Hold Back


What would it be like to be a sex therapist? Certainly it would be difficult at times to bite your tongue. According to Todd Creager, a marriage and sex therapist for almost thirty years, “There are days when holding back isn’t easy.” But of course the profession requires that you have to bite your tongue. “As a marriage therapist, it’s important to be professional and let couples direct their fate. We’re here to gently guide them, challenge them and support them, but we really should not advise them.” Certainly there are those couples who work hard in therapy and reap the benefits. But there are also couples for whom the therapy seems irrelevant. There are definitely things that marriage counselors keep themselves from saying. Two other counselors also weighed in. Here’s what marriage counselors sometimes really want to say but their professionalism holds them back. Sometimes they want to say, “Get out of this relationship as fast as you can!” Of course people often stay with the wrong people. They may be attracted to the wrong person due to some childhood trauma, have baggage or are trying to heal old wounds. In either case there are those who stay with the wrong person. Don’t be one of them. “You’re both immature, childish and people who act like you’re 10 and shouldn’t be married.” Marriage takes maturity, selflessness, kindness and compassion. Childlike behavior will break a marriage down.

Sometimes the counselor wants to scream, “I’m on her side” or “his side.”  Here’s an important one, “Are you waiting for your fairy godmother to wave her magic wand and improve your relationship? Get to work!” Many people are looking for the quick fix to their relationship. But the truth is that a long term relationship, especially a marriage is a lot of work. If you aren’t willing to put the time and effort in you certainly shouldn’t marry. “You’re both so stuck that you might as well give up,” and “No marriage therapist could help you both since you’re committed to relationship failure,” are important ones. It’s necessary to know when a relationship can be repaired and when it is irreparable. It’s important to know when the right time to walk away is. Paul Hokemeyer, JD, PhD, a licensed marriage and family therapist added a few of his own. “Get out of your own way!” Lots of people overthink their relationships, or put all of their happiness into it, making everything so much harder. “It doesn’t need to be this hard.” Some people get so caught up in their own pain or problems that they compound them, making it so much more painful on them and their spouse. Another counselor chimed in, wishing to remain anonymous saying that children should never, ever be pawns in their parent’s arguments. According to all of the counselors if your relationship is in trouble, look at how you communicate. This is usually where problems stem. Work on positive, active communication. And if you need help seek a counselor. For more on how to have the best marriage and prevent a trip to the counselor’s office, read The Long, Hot Marriage by Todd Creager.